I read the girls their bedtime stories last night – the first time I’ve done that for an embarrassingly long time (I also started writing this year’s Christmas story, but that’s another, er, story…)
The Lovely Melanie was attending the first “executive meeting” of her new part-time job, which is helping our friend Liz with her new business, Zinnia Community Enterprise. She’s helping with the research and administration (which, she told me) she really enjoys.
But never mind that, it was storytime I wanted to discuss, not social enterprise.
It’s been far too long since I did storytime for the girls; partly because I do the morning shift looking after the girls, but also Millie now enjoys longer books, e.g., Harry Potter or the Famous Five. The Lovely Melanie has been keen to read these with her from start to finish, rather than us taking turns, so I seldom get a look in.
Which doesn’t usually bother me, if I’m brutally honest. But perhaps it should.
Previously, storytime was often a bit of a chore – 30-40 minutes to be gotten through at the dog-end of the day, often the same books over and over again, when all I really wanted was some dinner and to relax in front of the news.
Yeah, I know, bad parent.
But sitting with both girls on my lap, I realised that in just a few short years they’ll no longer want to sit on my lap. Both of them will grow up and this time with them will be gone, never to return.
Hardly rocket science, sure, but down in the parenting trenches it’s easy to lose sight of this simple truth.
Last night it was refreshing to sit down with each girl for 25 minutes and read with them, doing the character voices and putting some dramatic effects in there (I’ve always thought I could have been a very good actor, but I never got picked for speaking parts in school plays). Amber objected to the voices, claiming Mummy doesn’t do voices, but I overruled her – this is Daddy Storytime!
And Millie is reading the wonderful The Princess Bride by William Goldman – a new book for both of us (although, I’m a big fan of the film). It’s at the cutting edge of her literary abilities, but with a minimum of judicious real-time editing we could both enjoy it.
And that was the point of this entry, really: the fact that I really enjoyed reading to my girls last night – watching them listen and be amazed by the power of fiction, of imagination.
I can see why the Lovely Melanie has been hogging storytime. 😛
But the icing on the cake came upon being told that both girls had been very excited about Daddy doing storytime for a change.
It’s always nice to be wanted and appreciated, and all too easy to forget (again, when you’re down and dirty in the parenting trenches) that children are nowhere near as cynical as we might think.
Indeed, it’s sometimes easy to forget that they’re children, a rather different – but rather wonderful – species of being. 🙂